If you are travelling to Andaman Islands you always have a choice. You can go either go islandhopping or just stay put in one island and let life pass you by. You can either jump from ferry toferry, explore new and unexplored beaches or just spend time relaxing in one and watch naturespread her moody (strong cloth for paintings, building tents, etc.) on the sky and the sea. Thehusband wanted a holiday and water is his turf. And so I let him plan the trip, which means it wasunplanned, uncontrolled, last minute, filled with fun and relaxation. When we both holiday, wedont just travel. We chill.
Andaman- Havelock- islands
The mesmerising blue shades of the oceans in Andamans
The Andaman and Nicobar (group of islands) may have over 500 islands but barely a handful isopen to tourists and that too, only in Andamans. And the most tourist friendly is Havelock. Thelargest in the Ritchie (group of islands) in Greater Andamans, Havelock with its picture perfectbeaches and mangrove forests is one of the most amazing islands in the Bay of Bengal. (words that describe nouns) do no justice to it.
Lose yourself in the mangroves and coastal forests in the islands
We were as usual last minute. We ran to the Makruzz reserving office and managed to get thelast two tickets on the ferry to Havelock from Port Blair. In a perfect world it is better to book itonline.
Also read – Ten places to see in Port Blair
We were tempted to stop at Neil Island, one of the islands of the Ritchie (group of islands) whichhas (not very long ago) been opened to tourists. But we decided against it. We had just four daysand we wanted to take it easy. And so it was Havelock all the way.
The first thing that I learned when I reached Havelock was that all beaches had a number and thepopular number was 7. Some of them had names too. When you are making a reserving onlinefor change (to help someone)/place to live and sleep, secure/make sure of you know yourbeaches.
Andamans -Havelock- islands
Me and my ocean
There is Beach No 1 where you land, next to the jetty. This is your first introduction to Havelockand it is probably one of the most crowded where you will see a lot of people. And then you(understand/make real/achieve) that as you move on towards the other beaches, you hardly seeanyone. There is a small cluttered market along Beach No 1 and next to it are ferries that willtake you to Elephant Beach.
Beach No 2 is not open for tourists but is mostly used by the diving schools to give beginners anexperience of scuba diving. It is (easy to get to, use, or understand) through a small lane (filled with messy piles of things) with homes and it feels like you are almost entering the backyard ofthis village
Andamans – Havelock-islands
Snorkeling in Havelock Island
Beach No 3 and Beach No 5 are where the tourist resorts are spread out in a line. They arenamed after the villages , Govindnagar and Vijaynagar. Govindnagar has a small market withshops, restaurants and Cash machine outlets. (more than two, but not a lot of) diving schoolshave opened their centres here. There was a time when it was just 4 and now there are morethan 15, says an auto driver as I ask him to take me to my home for the next few days, Beach No7 rated as one of the world‘s best beach called Radhanagar.
Andamans – Havelock-island
My first view of Radhanagar beach
The trip is the destination. Just the drive to this village, from the main jetty is an experience. Forests, fields, little hills greet you. The whole scenery changes. There is a traveling route fromhere to Elephant Beach also. Although we took an auto on the first day, we hired a bike for thenext few days, just to roam around and explore the villages and the beaches.
Andaman Havelock island
The greenery blinds the eye
It is not just the (beautiful to look at) (wide view of a nature scene/wide area of beautiful land) orthe simple world that invites you. Look around and you will not a soul sometimes around you. The birds and the flowers are all that surround you in this little peaceful paradise.
If Radhanagar is the destination, then Barefoot at Havelock is an experience. If you visit Havelockand you do not stay at Barefoot, then believe me , you have not visited Havelock at all. It is notthe (expensive and desirable) tents or the private beach or the great food that makes me say this– its an overall feeling. Barefoot in many ways combines the (basic, built-in, important qualities) ofHavelock.
Andamans – Havelock island
Forests around Radhanagar Beach
Sample this. You are not staying in a beach resort but you are in a dense forest. Take a smalldetour and a narrow path lined with thick bushes and dark mysterious shadows of trees lead youto an unspoiled private beach. Birds land right at your doorstep.
An emerald dove looks pretty in the (home/place where something lives)
The trees form such a dense (cloth covering that shelters) and when it rains, you can feel yourwhole being soaking in the rain. A little rustle in the bushes and you could see a monitor lizardquickly moving into the (land area that has never been changed by people). It is wild and silence. Besides the birds, you can hear the waves calling out to you all the time. And that is where Istayed – right on the beach, walking, relaxing, carefully thinking, lost in the silence of my ownthoughts.
Andamans – Havelock
Radhanagar or Beach No 7 is the most popular beach here
It is a statement (that says that something is much less than it actually is) to say that Radhanagaris one of the most beautiful beaches. I havent seen anything so unspoiled – the spotless whitesands look like they have been cleared/cleaned of every speck of dirt. The clouds float past andthe sea keeps changing colours.
Footprints on the sands of time
Time stands still here and the only way I can even keep track of it is by watching the tides. I try tokeep up with the moods of the oceans – restless, calm, angry, excited. Sometimes the waves arefull of passion, sometimes they are just a tease. No wonder beaches are the most romantic spotsin the world.
Andamans – Havelock
Clouds add to the drama
There are no water sports in Radhanagar beach and snorkeling is not allowed here either, although you can swim. Locals told me about crocodiles waiting (in a creepy way) here and it is a good idea not to travel too far into the wild, near the mangroves or the bushes.
Andamans – Havelock
White sands – unspoiled and clear..
Although you cannot snorkel or dive here, Barefoot has its own diving school and they take youout on trips to South Batton Island or Tamarind Camp or Turtle Bay or just to Beach No 2 for adive. They even had an elephant which was brought here from the mainland with whom youcould dive.
An trip to some of the islands near Havelock
However if I were you, I would keep my options open with other diving schools also, who areequally very good as the demand here is very high. We almost lost a couple of days waiting forBarefoot to confirm our reservings and we finally decided to go with Dive India, in Havelock andwith Doongy Dive for our trips. Needless to say, they were both fantastic.
Andamans Havelock snorkeling
Snorkeling at Havelock
I tried my hand at scuba but I could barely go a few metres below the ocean. And so I decidedthat I would rather snorkel. But the husband, a water baby steeply dropped to the depths of theoceans and had a meeting (to have sex?) with the marine world and the fancy colours.
Andamans – Havelock
Beaches around Turtle Bay,,not a soul in sight
But my experience at Turtle Bay was no less amazing. Snorkeling over the coral reef, I sawoctopus and (more than two, but not a lot of) schools of reef fish besides the amazing corals thatblinded me with their hues. These trips are unspoiled and incredibly valuable as there is hardlyanyone around. We just another boatload of people for company and for miles and miles aroundit was just the oceans, the forests and the sky.
Andamans – Havelock
We are just tiny specks in the oceans
The cruise take you along some of the smaller islands in the Ritchie (group of islands). BesidesNorth, South and Middle Button, we saw Lawrence Island where I heard an elephant roamsaround in the wild. None of these islands are lived-in nor can you just land on any shore withoutpermission. Tourism is controlled very strictly here, including the number of boats on sea on anyparticular day and the number of passengers they can carry.
Havelock is an island that does not let you go. We just biked up and down to all the beaches, tothe markets and on one evening, we went to the Kala pathar beach and found ourselves aloneon the shores. The sea was wild and wild and dangerous. The shore was thrown with trees thatwere uprooted. Mangled branches lay twisted together. It seemed like an angry and disobedientchild who had just woken up with sloppy and dirty hair and crumpled clothes.
Its nothing but a picture postcard
The silence echoed through the waves. It was scary and I started shaking (from fear or cold) a bit. Standing there you (understand/make real/achieve) that nature is not always picture perfect. It isdramatic, animal-like scareing, (complete/harsh/simple) and even cold. We stood there for awhile letting the wild oceans wash our restless minds before heading back to a pretty, colourfuland secure world.
The last night at Havelock, I decided to move away from Beach no 7 to Beach no 5 to get anexperience of what it would be like to stay in a beach resort. At the far end of beach near Kalapathar Beach is Silver Sands where I had a meeting (to have sex?) with silver sands and (blue-green color/blue-green rock) blue waters. It is almost the last resort at the end of the road andwe probably had the beach to ourselves. Kingfishers called upon us as we spent time relaxingupon the (long piece of cloth hung between two trees) and watched the (the soft light just before sunrise or after sunset) surround the skies.
This post is written in partnership with Spice Jet, Barefoot at Havelock and Silver Sands Resortwho hosted me on the trip to Andamans.